Not all dollar accounts in banks are confidential
A closer scrutiny of Republic Act 6426 would reveal that not all dollar accounts in a bank are covered by its secrecy provision as found in Section 8 thereof—“Secrecy Of Foreign Currency Deposits.” Note, that this secrecy provision only mentions “Deposits.” Hence, in applying the legal maxim “Expressio unius est exclusion alterius (the express mention of one person, thing or consequence implies the exclusion of all others), other bank accounts that are not in the nature of deposits are deemed excluded from the protection of this particular provision.
It is a common banking practice that, in addition to accepting deposits, most banks offers other higher yielding products and services to its clients. For instance, Metrobank’s website shows that it offers “investment” opportunities to its clientele such as: Foreign Currency-Denominated Bonds or ROPs (denominated in US Dollar or Euro, issued by the Republic of the Philippines with tenors of three to 25 years), US Treasury Bills (US T-Bills, US Dollar securities issued by the United States of America with tenors of one month to six months), and US Dollar Denominated Bonds.
Investments are not deposits in the contemplation of RA 6426 and other relevant banking laws.
Firstly, when one deposits his money in a bank, the depositor is the creditor and the bank is the debtor. The bank pays interest while in possession of the money and is under legal obligation to return the money upon demand/withdrawal by the depositor. While in investments, such as in ROPs, the debtor is the Republic of the Philippines, and the bank is only a “broker” that collects a fee from the client. Upon the end of the term, the government—not the bank—pays the maturity value of the bond to the investor.
Moreover, Sec. 9 of RA 6426 provides that only “deposits under this act shall be insured under the provisions of RA 3591 (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation).” Thus, investments cannot be insured with the PDIC.
Being different from a “deposit,” an “investment” falls outside the mantle of protection of the bank secrecy law and can be legally inquired into without violating the bank secrecy law.
New Manila, Quezon City
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